I haven’t gotten around to writing mini-reviews of the Tribeca short films that found their way onto YouTube. I guess I caught up in the process of promoting our Great Film Competition Winner, Matter Fisher, and maybe felt that the three mega-posts I did for the shorts in the Tribeca Screening Room sufficed. They don’t though, these YouTube films are different, and probably represent a stronger program than any of those 3 I featured during the fest.
So why not go ahead and do an updated post? I was in the process of doing so when I ran across some conflicting information. Some reports say the films will be up another 3 weeks. Other reports state that the films were due to be taken offline yesterday! These aren’t official reports, and I did just confirm that the films are indeed online, but in the absence of official word from the festival or YouTube, I want to make sure you get to check out my personal favorite of the bunch.
That film is Brink, a Shawn Christensen film. Shawn graduated from Pratt Institute for Illustration and Graphic Design before opting for the rock-star path, forming the band Stellastar*. Now he is going the filmmaker path, creating short film gems such as this one, and selling feature screenplays.
Jeremy has been in love with his best friend, Evelyn, since before he can remember. He decides to profess his love for her through a simple, thoughtful letter but there’s a strong chance they will never see each other again.
Brink is one of those mass-romantic films I am simply a sucker for. It is a lovely film, shot on the Red Camera with old Zeiss and Cooke lenses, but more impressive than that is its ability to directly immerse the audience into its narrative, via a smart script and great photographic technique.
While a somewhat sleepy, dream of a film, with little dialogue and liberal use of slow-motion, script-wise the film smartly engages the viewer from the start with Jeremy’s voiceover of his letter-writing. From that point you know the motivation of his character, and of the film, and it is compelling irrespective of the stakes, which slowly unfold via a sublimely simple and well-executed sci-fi premise. Too often filmmakers go atmospheric from the get-go and fail to establish audience connection to their characters until far too late, spoiling whatever meager goodwill they have garnered from fickle short film audiences. Christensen does not make that mistake.
Furthermore, the film shows off excellent shot choices and camera technique; a ton of slow zooms erase the exterior world and its ongoing drama, very literally privileging the fear and hope inside Jeremy’s own head. Cinematically, the careful and slow camera movements, executed by Christensen himself as DP, enraptured me. There exists great style in some of the more unusual shot decisions, and I especially liked a couple of the rotating camera shots which jived perfectly with the world’s “lack of grounding”.
Christensen is in post production on a new short, a longer 20 min piece entitled Curfew, that is currently raising funds on IndieGoGo. Consider donating. I don’t know Shawn, but based on Brink, I really really want to see Curfew. Follow Brink on Facebook or Shawn on Twitter, and check out the rest of the Tribeca shorts while you can in the YouTube Screening Room. In addition to Brink I would especially recommend Home, and The Ignorant Bliss of Sun and Moon.